"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nomad 2

This is another drawing from the series I am working on, so far called Nomads & Gypsies. I like the composition of this, but don't think the colors are quite as successful as the ones in Nomad 1. Color work is hard for me, so I struggle with it and don't always get a successful outcome.  But since these are for practice, to get back into drawing and using color, I don't think it came out too bad. I like the pose so much I am thinking of doing the same one, only bigger, and on illustration board instead of paper.

Anyway, here is the process again, for those of you who are interested in this kind of thing.

Drawing with source material...again, found on Pinterest.

Here is a better one of the drawing. Sorry, I didn't realize the photo was so crooked until I uploaded it, and by then I had already done the color work, so couldn't re-shoot the photo.

Next is the drawing after I inked it with a Pigma Micron 05 pen in dark blue. I started to add color then went, "Whoops, need to photo ink drawing first" so that's why there is that bit of blue on her head scarf.

And at last, the finished drawing. I think I got a nice melancholy expression on her face, as if she is day dreaming of something a bit sad. The design on the green (meant to look like tile) was a stencil I drew around then colored in.

I am going to have to press this one for awhile, as the paper wants to curl up on the corners. I tried carefully rolling the paper in the opposite direction of the curl, and was only marginally successful...barely enough to get the photo. And, in looking at this, I think the green background needs more work. It still looks rough. Like I said, these are practice runs, nothing too serious — yet.

Other than working on these drawings, I have been practicing mounted archery in order to get ready for a clinic in two weeks. So far the weather has been steady, except for a few rain sprinkles, so that has helped. I have also taken a deep breath, for fortitude, and started reclaiming my garden from the weeds. I bought a cherry tomato plant and a basil plant, which are still sitting on the deck in their original pots, so those need to go in the ground soon.

Best part of the warmer temps = sitting out on the deck in the evening, sipping wine, sampling snacks, and having a nice relaxing moment with my husband...who drinks a beer instead of wine, 'cause tasting wine makes him make funny faces and hand the glass back to me.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nomad 1

Yes, I really am making an effort to get back into drawing and painting. Unlike a lot of people, I like to draw. Always have. To the extent that, as a kid, before sidewalk chalk, I would draw on the sidewalk with an ice cube wrapped in a wash cloth. My mom's idea of cheap drawing tools. With five kids, it was the best she could do at the time. I didn't mind, and it was really fun on a hot summer day.

Anyway, I have been thinking about a series of drawings/paintings on nomads and gypsies, with a bit of fantasy thrown in for fun. Not too much of the fantasy element in this piece, because I am trying to feel my way back into things, using colored pencils. So, this is basically a practice run. However, it turned out better than I thought it would.

So, I thought I would share the stages it went through.

The two sources I used, both found on Pinterest, and the pencil drawing. 

Here is a little bit better one of the drawing.

The next one is after I inked the drawing, using a dark grey Pigma Micron 05. I usually ink drawings in either dark gray or warm brown, rather than black.

And here is the finished drawing, using Prismacolor and Karet colored pencils. The spot on her cheek is a tribal tattoo, similar to the one in the old postcard photo.

Two of the design features I really want to play around with a lot more, are the silhouette of buildings against a sunset sky, and getting a bit more outlandish with the costume. Anyway, I thought for my first dive back in, she didn't turn out too bad.

Only big thing I will change will be doing the drawings on illustration board instead of on paper. The Karet colored pencils are watercolor pencils, but I didn't dare use them that way on this paper, which was just some Strathmore sketch paper.  It would have crinkled up like crazy. Crinkles = NOT good.

This last photo is just of my work table, showing the finished drawing, the source pictures, and the scratch paper with color tests, which I do as I go.

So, that it. Can't wait to start on the next one.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Art And Questions

Funny how one little book filled with forty-nine creativity exercises started me questioning how and why I create, and how does what I do relate to "the big picture?" The book is The Trickster's Hat by Nick Bantock. I was having a lot of fun working on some of the exercises, and reading ahead to see what was coming up next...until I got to number thirty-one "Learning from others." It is mainly about how all artists are influenced by the work of others in some form or another. But what got me into this rare introspective mood was this quote from the book:

"Our job as creative individuals is to acknowledge, develop, and shine light on all realities, whether they be concrete or mythological—not for individual glory but because it feeds the collective unconscious and gives permission to others to widen the periphery of their vision."


After reading that I had to ask myself if what I was doing really did widen the periphery of other people's vision? Uh...I have no idea. Even worse, I started thinking my artwork was, well, pretty insipid, the jewelry quaint, the stitching a cute hobby. Then I started asking other questions.

If a limited number of people, or no one, sees your work, how can it be helping the "collective unconscious?"
For art to be relevant does it have to be put out in the universe for others to see?
Does each work of art have to say/mean something? Can't it be just a pretty picture?
If you make figures with cute little party hats and butterfly wings, is that art irrelevant? Is it even art?
If you do art—any kind of art—simply for yourself, are you a mere dabbler, rather than a true artist?
What is a true artist?

As you see, my mind was in turmoil. I admit, showing someone my work and getting no response at all, a total "meh", is worse than someone instantly wanting to hurl rotten fruit at the piece. At least with the fruit hurler I got a reaction, even if his/her unconscious might be damaged for awhile..never mind what it would do to my ego. But how do I make my work relevant? Is that something I should even think about? Constantly asking myself if what I am working on is for the greater good, other than putting me in my happy place, would quickly smother any creative spark...and yet, here I am, asking myself that very question. 

Then I asked myself...

Is the very act of creating saying something, even if I'm not aware of it at the time?
The ideas must flow from somewhere, and mean something to me or I wouldn't bother, so simply by doing...whether painting, drawing, sewing, jewelry making, writing...it must be relevant from the very start...right? But is it relevant to the "collective unconscious?" Does it need to be? And if it isn't, am I wasting my time doing it if it has no higher purpose?

I still haven't come to grips with all of these questions. But the fact that I am spewing them out here, shows that I am very unsettled by them, which must meant I am looking for the answers.

So, after all that exhausting introspection, here is something to lighten things up a little. Photos of the iris growing in my garden.

On the white one, look closely. Can you see the hidden beastie?

Getting briefly back to the whole question of the relevancy or non-relevancy of art, I suspect all creative types ask themselves these same questions, and struggle with understanding why they do what they do. Hopefully, we don't hog-tie ourselves with so many questions and self-doubts that we quit creating. The collective unconscious would surely be diminished if that were to happen.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hair Ornaments and Hairballs

Hair Ornaments

I finally got my poor Etsy site back up and running (there is a link in my header), and that was an ordeal. It takes forever to upload the photos, write the descriptions, decide on a price, etc, etc. Once that was all done, I then went back and pinned each item to my Pinterest account, hoping for a bit more exposure and sales. It basically took me most of yesterday. Partly because I still had some photographs to take, which takes time to set up and get right. I still don't have a light box (my bad), but I set up something in the garage where the light is better, and that seemed to work okay...for now.

The big decision with the Etsy thing was to keep the prices as low as possible, which means I probably won't post earrings any longer. If I make a ten dollar pair of earrings, it's going to cost me three dollars to mail it, or more if out of the US. Not worth it. So there will be nothing on the site under fifteen dollars, but hopefully no more than twenty-five dollars. No postage charged unless out of the US. We'll see how things go. Here are a few of the new hair ornaments.


For the last two days I have been cussing at my Firefox browser. For some inexplicable reason, it dumped all but ten of my bookmarks. One night I had 25-30, the next morning they were gone but for the first ten. Now, I would have been a lot more upset over that if I hadn't been wanting to purge a lot of them anyway. Many were ones I no longer had any interest in. But, when I added back a few of my favorites that had been deleted, when I turned on Mr. Computer this morning, I found that Firefox had dumped the new additions and defaulted back to the ten. This I found very annoying, especially since I have no idea why it is doing it.

I have had several people recommend I upload a new browser...like Chrome. I hate doing that, because invariable when you upload anything new, it affects something else, usually in weird ways. I am giving this little Firefox hairball time to unravel itself before I do anything else. And since computers I not my forte, I am usually loath to do anything that might go pear-shaped, because I won't know how to fix it.

Why is it the oh-so-handy "Owners Manual" on things went out of favor? You know, that wonderful guide to tell you how to work things, and full of nice trouble shooting hints. No computer comes with an owners manual. Oh no, you have to go online to get that information. Well, what if you can't get to the web? What if your browser is going bonkers? What if your computer gives you a blank screen where before you had easy to click into graphics of places you had been and would get you there again (I did, now I don't, which is another part of the hairball)? Where is my bloody owners manual to tell me what all of that means?

As you can see, I have a low frustration threshold when it comes to electronics. I think I'll go have a cup of tea...maybe with some rum in it.